Shock and awe in village India:
When MGM's AppleBash party began at 7.30 pm on July 31, the whole village shook and throbbed. We had heard nothing like it before. It was impossible to talk to someone 3 feet away in our homes. The Inspector of Police from Neelangarai came to meet a group of livid ECCO members. He was apologetic, even sheepish. He said he had told them to wind up by ten, asked us to bear up till then and left.
At 11.00 pm the decibel level had only risen. We decided that enough was enough. Sabita, Navaz and I began the half kilometer walk to the temple land, now a party venue. We walked on the beach, where fishermen whose workday begins at 3 am, sat jack-knifed in bewilderment, unable to sleep.
The old sacred grove was a green savanna, lit like a foot ball field. We walked in from the beach and waded through milling crowds. We counted 6 bars in the periphery doing brisk service. It was a party to launch MGM's vodka brand. Most of the guests were liquor vend workers in their several hundreds. They were lolling about, high on free samples. Two speaker towers, each 10 feet high were pounding the earth. An inane DJ was spinning music and urging folks to c'mon, have a good time. Many 'folks' instead were relieving their greedy bladders on the beach. Sabita was chatting up some young constables and noting down their names. She learnt they were on 'security detail' till 3.00 am.
I was soon spotted by MGM's Chief Operating Officer Mr Sharma.
"Sir, do you have an invitation? This is a private party," he said.
"Private party on public land? No I don't have an invitation. Since I can't sleep I have decided to take a walk to find out what's going on," I said.
"Throw him out," snarled Mr Sharma to his security staff.
I stood my ground and snarled back:"I dare you. If I am on your property call the police to throw me out. There are plenty of them here." I glowered for a while and walked deeper in, calling the DIG, SP and the Inspector on my mobile, the while. It was coming up midnight; the party was raging on.
Presently, I saw Mr M G M Anand. I walked over and greeted him and asked how come he was running a party on temple lands.
"I have a lease to these lands," he said.
"Show me and I will leave," I said deciding to call the bluff.
"Not now. Only during office hours," he said tartly.
"Very well. I will get in touch," I said. "Even if you do have rights to this land you are violating noise control laws of TNPCB."
He turned to COO Sharma and said, "Ignore him. He is an extortionist. He is here looking for some money."
And I said: "Mr Anand, money is the only thing you know and deal with. I'll show you a few more things about life before I am done."